Planning for one’s death is never easy, but that does not mean it has to be difficult. In an effort to encourage individuals to establish plans for their eventual passing, Everplans Professional recently launched a digital estate planning application to begin the process. The consumer application, geared primarily toward estate lawyers, financial advisors, and insurance agents, allows consumers to gather their estate plans, health care proxies, and financial account information and hold all of these documents in a single location. The application contains customized to-do lists, setting the framework for what needs to be done when an individual passes away. The plans are then shared with “deputies,” who will be able to have access to some or all of the stored information and documents.
Companies who sign up for Everplans Professional can co-brand the tool and offer it to their clients for the price of $2,500 a year. The application comes with a personalized dashboard that helps track a client’s progress, as well as an advisor who can reach out to the client and help the client finalize their plans. As with all technology, one legitimate concern is security. To tackle this problem, Everplans uses a two-step verification process during login and all personal information is encrypted and protected using banking-level security.
The emergence of this application demonstrates the need and importance of finalizing one’s estate plans before it is too late. According to the American Bar Association, more than half of Americans die without a will or estate plan. Without any estate plan in place, the loved ones of the decedent often see the deceased person’s assets distributed in a way that is inconsistent with what the decedent would have wanted. The laws of the state where the deceased resided will determine how and to whom the assets are distributed. Passing without an estate plan can cause unnecessary problems for family members, which could have otherwise been avoided (e.g., costly litigation in probate court) by having a carefully constructed and thorough estate plan.
A well-developed estate plan often includes a will and/or trust, as well as documents than plan for events such as incapacity (e.g., a durable power of attorney or a designation of health care surrogate). A carefully constructed estate plan can also help minimize the taxes that will be owed upon death, which in turn will preserve the maximum amount of the decedent’s estate to be passed to his or her heirs.
While “do-it-yourself” estate plans exist, it is always better to hire an experienced attorney who can carefully evaluate your situation and consider all of your wishes in order to provide the best estate plan possible for you. Having a clear and unambiguous estate plan can help quell any issues that could potentially arise. An ambiguous estate plan can cause disputes among family members regarding various assets. For example, Robin Williams’ wife and children are currently feuding over the actor’s personal property. The dispute over the Williams estate shows how critical it is to have a qualified attorney who is able to handle estate planning for high-net-worth estates.
An experienced probate attorney will ensure that you have the necessary information to make decisions regarding estate planning, preparing a will or trust, and minimizing taxes owed upon your passing. If you are looking for an experienced and qualified Florida attorney, please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Chepenik Trushin, who are ready, willing, and able to assist you with all of your estate planning needs.